Perfumery is full of examples of pleasant smells. Yet that is not what makes up the entirety of the scent spectrum. Odd odors and strangely compelling things we sniff furtively because they shouldn’t appeal are also part of it. There have been precious few perfumes which attempt to travel this path of fascination with the possibility of finding beauty from the outré. NEZ 1+1 Folia looks for it in the decaying vegetation of a damp forest floor.
Folia is the second within the 1+1 collection from the perfume magazine NEZ. It can be included in the order for the latest issue, #9, if you order from their website. The idea of the collection is to take a perfumer and add them to an artist from a different discipline as inspiration and creative director. For Folia, the perfumer is Julien Rasquinet. The artist is French sculpture artist Eva Jospin who uses cardboard as her medium. Based on the story in the magazine the place where their experiences intersected was where a small brook has collected dead leaves atop some wet stones and roots. This is reminiscent of what you find in the early spring as the snow has almost all melted. A compact sense of dank vegetal decay.
The scent of damp rotting leaves is where Folia begins. If you’ve ever been in the woods in early spring, you will recognize this. It has an unusual sweetness that isn’t unpleasant, but I wouldn’t ever define it as pretty. It sets you up for the remainder of the development. The dampness is intensified as violet leaf and a mineralic accord provide water and stone. There is also a chill which runs through it at this point. It goes very earthy and mushroom-like as geosmin, patchouli, and vetiver form the base accord. This is that slightly stinky wet earth waking from underneath the snow. I like the oddity of it all when it comes together. They say there is a tiny hint of orange blossom in here. You have a better nose than I if you find it. Maybe it is there in what I describe as the sweetness of the decayed leaves, but I can’t say for sure.
Folia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I enjoy the audacity of making a perfume which embraces these kinds of weird scents. It seems a natural as an add-on to a magazine for perfume lovers like NEZ. I loved being asked to consider the beauty of decay.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.